Part 1: 20 Tips for Working from Home with Kids During the Summer! The 3 P’s – A 3 part series!
It’s summer! YEAH! Oh wait… what do I do with the kids when I am supposed to be working from home?? Yes, working from home gives us much needed flexibility, however flexibility is very different than NOT working at all. So I’ve compiled some tips on how to get your work done and still maintain that much needed time with your bundles of joy! I’ve categorized the tips into a 3 part series called The 3 “P’s” – Planning, Productivity and Priorities! The list looks long, however not all tips will work for all work-at-home moms (and dads). So browse through them and try some that look appealing. You can always come back to try more and more until you find the perfect combination for YOUR family! Better yet.. why not let me coach you through it? Ok… Let’s get to part 1 of the list!
Planning: There is something to be said for a routine!
Tip #1 – Plan, Schedule and Plan some more! You are going to need to make a plan, a schedule and get a little creative! Write a list of ALL tasks – work related, kids related, home maintenance related, fun related, etc. Start filling in a Weekly Plan Sheet (see below) or Make recurring appointments on a digital calendar like Google Calendar or even get a large paper or white board calendar you can fill in and post in the kitchen or some common area where everyone can see it. While you will need to be flexible you need to make the schedule and routine a priority.
Once you have a plan and a schedule you must be prepared to revise it… and often! As the seasons change and as your child(ren) grow, their needs will change. There are pros and cons to every age! For example… many infants nap! Instant productivity time! Elementary age children (like my 7 & 9 year olds) usually “need you” but on a different level. And Tweens and Teens… well your main goal is to keep them out of trouble! Kids of all ages thrive on a schedule with routine. Even during the summer you’ll find more peace when you have a schedule even if it is loose. The Key is… the kids need to “know” the routine (and so do you!).
Tip #2 – Sitters, Play dates and Summer camp Oh My! An hour or 2 of dedicated think/work time can be priceless! Don’t be afraid to hire a sitter or find a way to have a few hours of kid free time each day. Find out what summer camps are available in your area or schedule play dates for your kids a few times a week. A less expensive alternative to a baby sitter is to consider hiring a Mommy’s Helper… A Mommy’s Helper is usually a child not yet old enough to babysit on their own but are more than able to help entertain the kids and do light tasks around the house. This opportunity can help them to feel accomplished and get their feet wet before they are ready to babysit without a grown up in the building. The caution here is be careful not to hire a mommy’s helper that needs too much of YOUR help! You can also trade sitter time with other moms & dads that work from home. Don’t be afraid to pick the brains of others in the same position as you are.
Tip #3 – Three Words that can change your family life = Weekly Family Meeting. – We stumbled across this idea a few years ago and it has made ALL the difference. What is a family meeting? Well once per week we sit down as a family (you could sit at the kitchen table or get comfy on the couch or floor) and have a meeting. There is an agenda and everyone participates. We start with each sharing something we are thankful for or excited about. We next go around with concerns or something we need help with. Then we go over the schedule for the upcoming week. We find conflicts or where we need to make adjustments, and figure out who is driving who to where so that everyone is on the same page before the week starts… We wrap up with assigning tasks and going over the chore charts followed by everyone sharing what they are looking forward to most! IMPORTANT: Let the kids have input! This should be a conversation! Kids support what they help create! My kids get excited for family meeting night. Now when I say “week” it’s the “family week” so if your meeting is on a Wednesday your week goes from Thursday to Wednesday. J Give it a try! It is amazing!
Tip #4 – Make Meal Time a Priority! Family meal time is important! Sitting around the table and sharing a meal is quality time at its finest. I am blessed to have worked our schedule out so that all the family sits together for 2 meals a day (in the summer 3 meals from time to time!) In the summer when you make lunch important, sit together at the table and reconnect it gives you the chance to reset for the day. Talk about how the morning went and review what they can expect for the rest of the day. Take the time to connect and for the kids to feel important. You’ll be shocked at what a 30 minute connection over a meal can do for the rest of your day! Tell them about the 2:00 call you cannot be interrupted during and what they will be doing at that time. Dangle the carrot of the next Mommy/Child time planned for the day. We all do better with something to look forward to!
Tip #5 – Plan your meals like you plan your day! Have a meal schedule… no more guessing what’s for dinner! Planning meals save both TIME and MONEY! You can go to the grocery store once per week (or even less often!) Or better yet… make the list and have someone else go for you! You know what is for dinner so you can take things out to thaw in the morning. You can plan cooking time with the kids! In our family when we don’t plan we often end up eating out or getting take out… that cost much more money and is often less healthy.
Tip #6 – Multi-Task with Care! It’s a fact that moms have to multi-task… but you have to learn to be an effective multi-tasker. If you are doing 100 things and not doing ANY of them well what is the point? Learn your limits and if things are getting crazy take a breath and prioritize.
Do you have any Planning tips to Share? Post them in the Comments below!
Stay tuned for Part 2 Coming Soon! Part 2 – Productivity: How to Make Work Time More Productive!